ISU Soccer Looks to Bounce Back at Creighton
Sept. 28, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - Coming off their first loss in a Missouri Valley Conference opener since 2008, the Illinois State (6-3-2, 0-1-0) soccer team continues Valley play at Creighton (3-6-2, 0-0-0) Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. The Redbirds will look to avoid losing back-to-back MVC contests for the first time since 2006.
The Redbirds and Bluejays last met in the 2011 regular-season finale, with ISU scoring five times in a six-minute span to go up 5-0 in the game's first 15 minutes. The final would be 8-1, with the eight goals marking a program record for the Redbirds. The two teams have met 21 times, with the Redbirds holding a 12-6-3 series advantage, including 5-1-1 under head coach Drew Roff.
"Creighton is going to be fired up for a Saturday night game, and they are going to want to play their best game of the year," Roff said. "We need to match their intensity. I think this is a perfect example of the type of game that we need right now. We need to be put under pressure. Our backs are against the wall. If we want to be a championship team, this is when we need to come out and play our best. That is the true test for our team."
The Bluejays enter the match having split their last two contests, winning 2-1 over South Dakota State Wednesday, Sept. 19, before falling 1-0 in double overtime to Oral Roberts Sunday, Sept. 23. Senior Brittney Neumann paces the Jays offensively, leading the squad in goals (4), points (9), shots (32) and shots on goal (16). Sophomore Madelyn Buckner, an All-MVC freshman selection in 2011, is the only returning starter along the Bluejay back line. Senior Katie Jo Swanson has played every minute in goal this season for CU, ranking fourth nationally with 78 saves. This is head coach Bruce Erickson's 13th season in Omaha and 20th overall. He holds a career record of 214-165-34.
"We have to come out hard and really ready to play," sophomore Aimee Wronski said. "If we don't come out sharp, it is going to be a tough game. We really need to come out pumped and with our heads up, forgetting about what happened last week."
In addition to being the first conference-opening loss since 2008, Sunday's 4-1 defeat at Evansville also matched the widest margin of defeat in a Valley game for ISU under Roff. Illinois State began 2008 conference play with another 4-1 loss at the hands of the Purple Aces, but then rebounded to go 5-0 the remainder of MVC play and win the regular-season title.
Following Saturday's match, Illinois State will return home for four-consecutive matches at Adelaide Street Field, beginning Wednesday, Oct. 3 against Loyola Chicago at 4 p.m.
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